Tim Hatch

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Pesky OpenVPN Issue - Solved 28 Jun, 2006

This has been hounding me for a while. I had OpenVPN working just great on both Mac and PC clients, talking to a (Debian) Linux server. I had all the option for redirect-gateway on, had ipv4_forward enabled, and had all the iptables rules in place like they ought to be. Then all of a sudden, things stopped working.

After rebuilding first the sever, then the Mac, it was still not working. The error is as follows (and would happen with every packet):

Wed Jun 28 16:06:03 2006 farnsworth/a.b.c.d:50424 MULTI: bad source address from client [a.b.c.d], packet dropped

Where, of course, a.b.c.d is the real ip address of the client. I let this simmer for the past two months or so but it finally came to me today after reading the man page for ifconfig on the mac.

sudo ifconfig tun0 metric -1

Yes, that’s all it needs. None of this fancy ccd stuff, or esoteric routes. The mac just needs to know that the packets “ought to” originate from the tunneled interface, then all the automatic routes from openvpn take over and get it from point A to point B.

Windows Vista Beta 2 Review 28 Jun, 2006

Installation

Although my machine at home has been Linux for about 14 months now, and I’ve been using a Mac laptop for two and a half years, some things occasionally force me to use Windows. I had Windows XP dual-boot on my home machine, but was running out of space on its drive (a paltry 20MB of the total half-terabyte on the box) so I needed to reinstall anyway. On that same day, Vista Beta 2 went public, so I figured what the heck.

The install process is definitely slicker than XP-Pro, although it’s still a bit more annoying than the OSX installer. I would say, from the installer’s perspective, it’s the best Windows yet. I especially like the progress bar, which is much more like the Adobe CS2 progress bar, if you’ve ever installed that (although the breakdown is pre- and post-reboot, rather than switching discs).

Once it finished installing (taking something like an hour and eight minutes before finally getting a usable desktop), it looked pretty. Definitely some elements stolen straight from the Mac. The driver for my Realtek 8169 card is finally included with Windows, which saved me a bit of time. Everything was automatically detected on my dual-processor box, including the nVidia driver for my video card, so I was pretty impressed on that point.

Use

Most of my relatively simple programs installed fine. Firefox even has some theme elements that take advantage of some of the reworking in Vista. IE7 on Vista looks much less lame with Aero Glass enabled, so don’t diss it based simply on how it looks under XP. It’s still kinda classic IE-y, with weird drawing and odd selections when you use the mouse with absolutely positioned elements.

I probably spent a good 10 minutes playing with the blur effects that occur on the window frame against the things behind it.

Compatability

Specific apps that work include Photoshop CS2 and PTGui, along with DVD Shrink. Polling the mouse seems a bit slower unless the mouse button is down, which is rather odd IMO, but things are workable. Some of the window animation effects are a bit gratuitous and slow stuff down, but I got used to them pretty quickly. They do look nice, I just wish they were a bit faster.

The biggest thing I’ve found that flat-out doesn’t work is the unxutils, which are absolutely essential to my everyday work. Zsh just crashes whenever it tries to fork a process, probably due to some sort of SEP being triggered. All other apps seem to work okay for the most part, just need a little tweaking (Neat Image, for example, tries to write camera noise profiles to its app dir… obviously not something that’s allowed).

Vista seems a little more hungry on ram, in that it doesn’t let go of it as quickly (my guess is it’s finally using a filesystem cache more like Linux, but that’s not based on fact at all). It’s able to fully utilize my gigabit network card, which had some issues under XP that would cause all USB devices to turn off every second or so while data was going over the wire.

Gaming

I tried to get Battlefield 1942 working, since that’s something that doesn’t entirely like Cedega right now (vsync especially, but PunkBuster also doesn’t work). The quick answer is that Battlefield 1942 doesn’t work under Vista. The installer off the CD worked, IIRC, but the patches to 1.5, 1.61b, and the installer for Desert Combat all looked like they worked, but then a message popped up (from Vista itself) saying that the install probably didn’t work (it didn’t) and I should try running it in a different mode (which I did), but this actually didn’t help.

Upon launch, it appeared to work, but then there was a hidden message from the firewall in the background (which I spidey-sensed and summarially dismissed), but it never performs the hand-off when the splash screen shows before it starts the level. Thus I cannot vouch for its speed for gaming, or whether PunkBuster works… because I wasn’t able to launch the game.

Wrapup

  • rating for usability: C-, stuff is too sluggish even with Aero Glass off
  • rating for prettyiness: B+, they’ve copied enough elements from OSX to give it a nice look, but keeping the fat borders from XP. I’d definitely say it’s an improvement over the Blue XP look. Progress bars and buttons are actually pretty.
  • rating for security: B+, it starts with a limited account and the warnings make it clear you’re about to do something dangerous. I think it makes it a little too annoying, but I honestly don’t use Windows that much so I think it’ll just make me that much happier to be back on other OSes.

Samsung T509 Review 28 Jun, 2006

I upgraded last week from a Sony-Ericsson T610 to a Samsung T509 (what is with the preceeding T on these phones?!) in order to get EDGE capability, but also to get a screen that I could actually read, given that my T610 had a largeish crack obscuring one entire corner of the display which was no fun.

Overall, the phones are about the same size. The T509 is a tad lighter, but I have the feeling their volume is identical. The T509 feels like you want to put something on the screen to protect it, and the only option I’ve tried so far is a rather large leather case which is too bulky. I may end up trying an iPod screen protector on it and see if that’s able to protect the display while still leaving it small enough to fit in a pocket.

I have virtually no complaints about the operating system. It’s the best I’ve seen yet in a cellphone, which includes several (older) Samsung phones, Nokias including S60, and my T610. Buttons are actually where you expect them to be, and options are easy to access contextually. The two complaints are that it’s often confusing how to get back one level in the menus — back to the ‘wallpaper’ is simply End at all times… but back one level might require you to leave a text field in order to have the C button act as back. The other gripe is that I can’t find the Bluetooth/Accessories menu to use with Romeo or Clicker, but that might be because I haven’t yet needed to read the manual.

The interface is snappy and responsive, and the display (with the backlight at the lowest setting to conserve battery) is still bright enough to read in sunlight. It’s a bit tricky to set some files as ringtones (as you will quickly find with a little googling) but mobile profile 3gp files work fine, and Quicktime Pro is able to export them easily enough. The phone has around 10MiB of flash, and comes with a decent smattering of ringtones, some of which don’t suck. I was impressed with the fact that it has a third option for vibration, which is vibrate first, then audible ring.

Missed calls, voicemail notifications, etc. show up with tabs allowing you to review them all in whatever order you want, rather than the typical one-after-another flashcard view that most phones have.

Hidden Features

I discovered these from a bit of googling. The phone OS is almost identical to the T809 and D500, so its codes work for the most part. I also find references to a D820 but have not seen its inner workings. Apparently this phone uses the “SWIFT” platform, according to gsmhosting.com.

CodeFunction
*#8999*8378#Debug menu, allowing you to tweak audio gains, network selection…
*#87667#Debug mode, allowing user-agent editing and “picture message profiles”
*#87927#WAP browser profiles
*#9999#Firmware name?
*2767*3855#Full EEPROM reset. This removed all customizations I made to the phone, but also removed the sim provider lock. On some models this apparently changes the imei, but not on mine. Be sure you’re patient for it to reboot on its own, it takes a couple of minutes.
*#4777*8665#GPRS Settings
*#2255#Call Log (not sure what’s different from regular)

Phone Versions

Hardware version: REV1.000
Software version: T509UVFC4 12:41:22(UV=USA?, F=2006, C=March, 4=ver4)
Production: 2006-05-18 02:10
Library version:
    wclient6233_20060213_midas_Blink.lib
    Magic4_nonRTL_Little_Arm9_Adsv12_040916.lib
    uni3.1-ads9-log-31.a
    mp4videoplayer_D500_051214.a
    mp4videoencoder.a
    pvxparser_type3_050224.a
    videofilters.a
    videofiltersTinyCoupe.a
    mp4videoplayernostreaming.a
    pswdrm_050730_perfom_improve_bug_fixed.lib
    IMCore_4.5_SMS_TMO_20060208_HTTP_HEADER_UA_ADD.a
    ifegdec_arm9_666s_050703.a
    ifegdec_arm9_050703.a
    cldc_hi.ptl
    protocol_share.lib
    psw_java.lib
    push_share.lib
    romizer.lib
    mmedia_share.lib
    security_Sun-SSL.lib
    extensions_OpenGL_ES_share.lib
    extensions_pim_share.lib
    extensions_jsr075_share.lib
Java microedition.profiles: MIDP-2.0 MIDP-1.0
Java microedition.configuration: CLDC-1.1

Fence Decorated by Rose Costumes 17 Jun, 2006

There's a fence by my house that's decorated by the manager of Rose Costumes as part of her Adopt a Spot on that side of the block.

I wanted to test out a new camera so I made a quick panorama from across the street using about eight photos. If your browser displays it tiny, make sure to click in it to enlarge to actual size.

Samsung T509 Modem Script for OS-X 06 Jun, 2006

I’ve hacked together a rough script that allows my new T509 to connect via EDGE to T-Mobile’s network. It doesn’t have a whole lot of error checking, but I haven't yet noticed anything wrong in a couple of hours’ use.

Check the project page for more info and the download.

An unexpected bonus, since moving to EDGE from GPRS, I’m not kicked off after a few seconds of inactivity. Awesome.